Ghost Patrol is one of the best games in San Francisco. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in San Francisco.
That’s the spirit!
Location: Emeryville, CA
Date Played: September 21, 2021
Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5
Duration: 90 minutes
Price: $275 for 4 players, $30 for each additional player, discounted on weekdays
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Trivium Games’ Ghost Patrol was a spiritual experience. I mean this both punnily — the room was brimming with ghostly interactions — and sincerely — this premium game so beautifully embodied the delight, whimsy, and abundant moments of revelation that I seek in an immersive puzzle-driven experience.
Ghost Patrol had it all: a touching narrative, meticulously clever and satisfying puzzles, loads of magical custom tech, impeccable lighting and sound design, and expertly fabricated props and set pieces. Moreover, Ghost Patrol demonstrated exceptional intentionality and thoughtfulness in every single element of its design.
This comes as no surprise: while Ghost Patrol may be the first brick-and-mortar escape room from Trivium Games, its creators have extensive experience creating long-form events in the puzzle hunt world, as well as professional backgrounds in tech, design, and audiovisual engineering. They are pros, and it showed.
More subtle than showy, Ghost Patrol contained many wondrous little innovations and perfectly designed puzzles that are still at the forefront of my mind days later. Ghost Patrol was unabashedly a puzzle-forward experience, and it will be best appreciated by puzzle lovers with a moderate amount of escape room experience.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Story seekers
- Best for players with at least some experience
As paranormal investigators in Ghost Patrol, we were tasked with entering the mansion of a recently deceased scientist to discover why she was still hanging around as a ghost and to fix her problem so she could move on to the afterlife.
Ghost Patrol took us to the mansion of a scientist-turned-ghost. We entered through the front door and made our way into a cozy wood-paneled library. It seemed pretty normal — except for the unplugged lamp that was flickering on and off and blotches of ghostly “slime” all around.
The gameplay in Ghost Patrol was exceptionally puzzle-centric, with a moderate level of difficulty. The room stayed clear of most standard escape room puzzle tropes in favor of a more varied and aha-based puzzle hunt-esque aesthetic.
➕ Ghost Patrol was escape room puzzle design at its finest, and the experience was jam-packed with moments of utter delight and magic. Puzzle ahas and environmental ahas combined with perfectly timed audio and lighting cues, and each solve felt like a celebration. The puzzle design aesthetic — a sort of puzzle hunt sensibility organically translated into the physical/ tactile realm — reminded me of that at Palace Games and Locurio.
❤️ While every single puzzle in Ghost Patrol was fantastic, a clever meta puzzle sequence especially warmed my heart.
❓ The second half of the game included a high density of visual-spatial puzzles. While I adored these puzzles and they played to my personal strengths as a puzzle solver, I could see them potentially bottlenecking teams that are more spatially challenged. That said, they were carefully designed to provide extra aids to solvers of all skill levels.
➕ Before entering the room, our team was presented with a Spectral Stethoscope which allowed us to listen to ghostly “slime” on various surfaces throughout the room. This was an effective means of inserting a ghostly presence throughout the space, and the Spectral Stethoscope itself was gorgeously crafted.
➕ An impressive amount of tech was woven throughout the room. Input mechanisms were varied, worked reliably, and made sense within the environment. There wasn’t anything resembling a standard combination lock to be seen.
➕ Ghost Patrol had a polished user experience, so to speak. Intermediate confirmation while inputting puzzle answers, whether through lighting or sound cues, made the puzzle flow silky smooth. The room was notably devoid of some more arbitrary escape room tropes like random searching or counting puzzles, in favor of a more focused and layered exploration of our surroundings. And throughout the room, it was always clear when something wasn’t part of a puzzle: non-interactable items in a cabinet were fixed in place, and some pages of text blurred out everything except for the headlines, transmitting key story details without dumping excessive reading on us. This level of extreme thoughtfulness established an unusually high level of trust in Ghost Patrol‘s designers which persisted throughout the game.
➖ The final area of the set, though filled with beautiful objects and clean in aesthetic, lacked some ambiance overall compared to previous areas of the set.
➖ The ending of the narrative was clear to those paying close attention, but it was more subtle than it needed to be. By the finale, some of my teammates, still focused intently on puzzling, missed some important narrative beats which flew by rather quickly. More overt narrative signposting in this final part of the game could have brought our team to an even stronger launch.
👻 I was blown away by Trivium Games’ attention to detail in all the elements surrounding the core game. From a stylized animated film introducing our game to a ghostly placemark on the map on the company’s website, ghostly Easter eggs permeated our experience from booking to debrief. Furthermore, Trivium Games’ lobby was a makers’ utopia: a handcrafted oversized Scrabble board greeted visitors upon entry, and a custom-made TERPECA award was an eye-catching feat of laser cutting mastery.
Tips For Visiting
- Parking: Free parking is available in the Andante Building garage behind Trivium Games.
- Food: A short drive away, Temescal Brewing offers tasty brews and rotating food trucks, along with a spacious outdoor patio seating area.
Book your experience with Trivium Games’ Ghost Patrol, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.